International Relations

Public Lecture: Professor Charles Doran
Publication: January, 2015
Publication: December 2014
Preview: Making Free Trade Worker Friendly

'Is War with China Inevitable?' Bologna Institute for Policy Research" - International Relations Series

Professor William Douglas: "The Poetry of International Ethics"

Professor Mark Gilbert: "Cold War Europe: The Politics of a Contested Continent"

Professor William Douglas May/June, 2015 issue of Challenge: The Magazine of Economic Affairs..

Events Calendar
General International Relations allows you to choose from among all of the courses offered in four programs in the overall field of International Relations, in addition to selected other Policy Areas at the school. You may take any course offered in Conflict Management; Global Theory and History; and International Law and Organizations, in addition to courses in Energy, Resources and Environment and Strategic Studies. General International Relations offers you the largest selection of courses in the school.
Second, in General International Relations you have the most flexible requirements.  The only requirement is to take at least one course in at least three International Relations programs or selected Policy Areas, for a total of six courses.  Likewise you have total flexibility in terms of the language you decide to use to meet your foreign language requirement.
This flexibility enables you to choose a set of courses that meet your own personal career goals and interests.  You can tailor your course selection to your own personal needs and preferences.
The only other requirement is to pass the Theories of International Relations exam either by taking the course SA.100.761 Theories of International Relations, or by auditing the course, or by studying on your own.  The Theories of International Relations exam is offered twice annually, once in each semester.   There is no penalty for retaking the exam.  By studying on your own you will free up a course to be used elsewhere as an elective toward the 16 course (64 credit) graduation requirement for an MA degree.
Students may choose to concentrate in General International Relations or may choose one of the following four programs under International Relations:
Conflict Management: The Conflict Management Program focuses on mechanisms for handling international conflict and developing cooperation. The program presents various theoretical approaches to negotiation, examines policies and processes in managing crises and conflicts and explores the formation and use of international organizations and regimes. Courses offer an opportunity to pursue case studies and simulations.
Global Theory and History: The Global Theory and History Program examines continuity and change in the formation and maturation of territorially focused relations, along with transnational forces and ideologies. The program includes the interplay of political economy, diplomatic and military strategies and cultural civilizations.
International Law and Organizations: The International Law and Organizations Program seeks to provide a working knowledge of the principles of international law, including in the use of military force, arms control, international human rights, the environment, investment and trade. The political and legal nature of international organizations is also addressed, including that of the United Nations, the European Union, the World Trade Organization and the many structures that respond to civil war conflicts and their aftermath. International law should be of interest to students specializing in security studies, international investing and regional studies, as well as those who wish to understand a distinctive mode of thought.

International Political Economy: International Political Economy provides an understanding of the intersection between international politics and economics. It focuses on the effects of politics on economic policy at the state, national, and international levels. Students will be exposed to a multidisciplinary curriculum that allows them to analyze their findings through a theoretical approach.
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General International Relations | MA Requirements

General International Relations Program Learning Goals and Objectives

Entering Class 2016-2017

MA students must take the equivalent of 16 non-language courses (64 credits) in order to graduate.  Those students who are approved for dual degree or advanced standing may only need to take 12 courses (48 credits) or 14 courses (56 credits) as approved by Academic Affairs.


General International Relations (IR)

MA students concentrating in General International Relations (IR) must take at least 6 IR courses or approved Policy Area courses (ERE and STRAT). All General IR concentrators must take at least 1 course from a minimum of three separate areas. These areas include:

IR Areas:
·         Conflict Management
·         Global Theory and History
·         International Law and Organizations
·         International Political Economy

Policy Areas:
·         Energy, Resources and Environment
·         Strategic Studies
International Relations students studying at SAIS Europe must take at least three IR courses in Washington with the exception of dual-degree or advanced-standing students, who must take at least two IR courses in Washington.


International Economics

Students must complete 4 courses within this program.
·         Microeconomics
·         Macroeconomics (prerequisite or concurrent Microeconomics)
·         International Trade Theory (prerequisite Microeconomics)
·         International Monetary Theory (prerequisite Macroeconomics)
Eligible students who pass the waiver exams in these subjects or who pass Micro in Pre-Term must replace those courses with alternate economics courses. Many students choose to pursue an International Economics Specialization in one of four areas of economics and therefore use electives to meet these requirements. Students may also choose to specialize in Emerging Markets.

Students must receive a 2.67 average in the 4 required economics courses or they must retake a course(s) until a 2.67 average is obtained. If any of the 4 courses are achieved by passing a waiver exam or during Pre-Term, the student must substitute an economics elective course(s) in place of the waived course(s) in order to fulfill the economics requirement above. In this case, the school will use the highest economics program elective course grade(s) to compute this average if a student is replacing one or more of the 4 required courses of Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, International Trade Theory or International Monetary Theory.


Quantitative Reasoning

Students must complete one course from the list below.
·         Statistical Methods for Business & Economics 
·         Econometrics (prerequisite Statistical Methods for Business & Economics)
·         Applied Econometrics (prerequisite Econometrics)
·         Macro Econometrics (prerequisite Econometrics)
·         Risk Analysis and Modeling
·         Quantitative Global Economics (prerequisite International Monetary Theory)
Students may not double-count a Quantitative Reasoning requirement as one of the four required International Economics courses and vice-versa. Eligible students who pass the statistics waiver exam or pass the statistics course in Pre-Term are still required to take an alternate Quantitative Reasoning course from the list above.


Core Courses/Exams

All students must pass 2 core exams and/or courses in addition to their concentration requirements. General IR concentrators must pass Theories of International Relations as one of their core requirements prior to the start of their third semester. If the second core is not completed by the start of the final semester, a student must enroll in second core course.
·         American Foreign Policy Since World War II
·         Comparative Politics (old course Comparative National Systems)
·         Evolution of the International Systems
·         Theories of International Relations


Language Proficiency

MA candidates must pass exams to demonstrate proficiency in a second language. This language must be offered at Johns Hopkins SAIS. Students whose native language is not English may use English as their proficiency language. All non-native English speakers are required to pass an English placement exam upon entering the school, even if not using English for proficiency.



General International Relations concentrators must complete ONE of the following capstones:

  1. A twenty-page research paper whose focus and subject matter has been approved by the director
  2. A twenty-page written report that draws conclusions about international relations based on an internship undertaken while at Johns Hopkins SAIS
  3. Successful completion of Contemporary Theory of International Relations (SA.600.702)
  4. MA Oral Exam (to compete for honors—if eligible)

Program Requirements by Academic Year

Entering Class 2015-2016
Entering Class 2014-2015
Enerting Class 2013-2014
Entering Class 2012-2013
Entering Class 2011-2012
Entering Class 2010-2011
Entering Class 2009-2010


Contact Us

Charles F. Doran
Andrew W. Mellon Professor of International Relations, Director of the Global Theory and History Program
Nitze 510

Starr Lee
Program Coordinator
Nitze 509

Address & Phone

International Relations
Nitze Building
1740 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, DC